Sports wagering is closing in on its two-year anniversary in Colorado.
But the 2022 edition of March Madness will be the first full March Madness experience for many of the Centennial State’s retail sportsbooks.
Last March, Colorado casinos still had a few COVID-19 rules and restrictions in place. And that certainly tempered some of the Madness.
But, 12 months later, it’s now a different picture.
The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments themselves have returned to play at regional sites.
There’s a stronger sense of normalcy at Colorado’s brick-and-mortar casinos and sportsbooks.
And ranging from sparkling new sportsbooks to enticing in-house promotions to hoops-themed casino contests, there’s something for just about everyone this month.
Retail sportsbooks expecting packed houses
First-round play in the NCAA men’s tournament tips off Thursday morning.
And Colorado March Madness bettors will get an immediate taste of home-state flavor.
The South Regional first-round game between sixth-seeded Colorado State and 11th-seeded Michigan is first up on the two-day, 32-game first-round docket. Tipoff from Indianapolis is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on CBS.
That’s only one of the reasons Kevin Dawn, the Barstool Sportsbook manager at the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in Black Hawk, is bracing for a full house through the weekend.
“We are doing first-come, first-serve with seating for the sportsbook each day,” Dawn recently told PlayColorado. “The seats in the book will be $25 and you will get a wristband and a free drink.
“We have seating for about 100 people. There will be standing room around the book and open seating in our downstairs bar for overflow.”
Across town, the Monarch Casino Resort Spa’s BetMonarch Sportsbook is readying for its first March Madness after opening in December.
And rest assured there will be hoops aplenty on the BetMonarch’s impressive 22-foot main sportsbook screen.
“This will be our first NCAA tournament,” BetMonarch sportsbook director Nick Epstein said. “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests since we opened our physical retail location, and we expect it to be every bit as busy as we were during the NFL playoffs.”
Hoops-themed casino promos abound this month
If chasing slot machine jackpots are more your speed than basketball bracket action, Colorado’s casinos still have you covered.
Black Hawk’s Isle Casino Hotel features a trio of hoops-themed gaming promotions:
- In the Isle’s Friday Free Throw Frenzy contest, selected patrons will shoot baskets for the chance to win $1,000 in free slot play. The contest will be held from 6-10 p.m. each Friday in March.
- A cool $1,000 in free slot play also is up for grabs in the Isle’s $12,000 Basketball Kiosk Game. Ceasars Reward Card members can swipe their cards at designated Isle kiosks from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. each Sunday in March and click on the Basketball Kiosk Game logo to play.
- The second of two $10,000 Hi-Low Hoops slot tournaments is scheduled for 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. Winning entrants will go head-to-head as they try to advance to the championship bracket and a chance at earning $350 in free slot play. Even the one-and-done entrants who bow out early will receive $200 in free slot play. And all winners with the Caesars Sportsbook app will garner a $100 bonus.
Check out the Isle Casino website for full contest details.
The Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk also has rolled out a basketball-themed promo.
In the establishment’s Fast Break Faceoff, two winners will be will selected each hour from 5-9 p.m. each Saturday in March. They will then “face off” by drawing cards from a game board, and the card containing the higher score wins $250 in casino promo play.
Even the so-called “loser” earns $100 in promo play.
And the player with the top score each Saturday wins an additional $500 cash bonus.
Patrons can earn Fast Break Faceoff entries each week, beginning Sunday.
Visit the Saratoga’s website for complete contest details.
It’s March Mayhem at the Ute Mountain Sportsbook
March Madness won’t just be limited to Black Hawk casinos.
The Ute Mountain Casino Hotel, located in Towaoc in the state’s Four Corners region, is getting in on the act as well.
The casino’s sportsbook is the home of the $10,500 March Mayhem Giveaway.
After starting March 14, the Ute Mountain sportsbook is awarding one contest entry per every $10 wagered in NCAA tournament parlay bets.
Seven cash drawings will then be held through the night of the men’s national championship game on April 4.
The drawings schedule is as follows:
- March 16: $300 drawings 5-9 p.m.
- March 18: $300 drawings 5-9 p.m.
- March 20: $300 drawings 5-9 p.m.
- March 25: $300 drawings 5-9 p.m.
- March 27: $300 drawings 5-9 p.m.
- April 2: $500 drawings during halftime of each of the day’s two Final Four games
- April 4: $500 drawing at halftime of the championship game and $1,000 drawing at the end of the title contest
Complete March Mayhem contest details can be found here on the Ute Mountain Casino website.